The freezing of sperm for artificial fertilization, useful for the planning of crossbreeding in the development of selection schemes and for the conservation of genetic variability (Italian Patent N. 0001314198 and PCT/EP2000/010182: Method for cryopreservation of teleostei semen).

As follows are the fish species for which protocols of semen cryopreservation are currently available:

  1. trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Italian Patent and PTC)

  2. salmon (Salmo salar)

  3. bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

  4. sea bream (Sparus aurata)

  5. bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus)

  6. Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccari)


Consultancy, assistance and support to the fish hatchery centres in the development of selective schemes for genetic improvement according to the area of interest (growth, malformations, resistance to diseases, …) in the bred fish species. This includes performing phenotypic measurements, the genetic characterization of the fish population, identifying and managing family bonds between the animals and also calculating the genetic indexes (GI) used in the evaluation of the possible superior genetic quality of the breeder (breeding value, BV).


Characterization of the single individuals by means of genetic markers (microsatellites and SNPs) for the estimation of the level of genetic variability of the fish stock (wild populations, breeders and offspring). This makes it possible, on the one hand, to explore the diversity within one population (within the breed diversity) and in-between populations (determining their relationships) and, on the other hand, to keep their internal structure monitored over time with the aim to modify, if necessary, the management strategies used to maintain a low coefficient of inbreeding.


The Spallanzani Institute has developed the genetic (microsatellites and SNPs) and information technology required for the genetic characterization of the breeders and their offspring in order to be able to assign a posteriori the parents of animals which have been inserted in programs of genetic improvement (progeny test) or in crossbreeding programs introduced for the re-population into the natural habitat of species which are at risk of extinction. Currently, there are various protocols available for a number of fish species, e.g. the bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), the sea bream (Sparus aurata), Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccari), the Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and the trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).


More than 1/3 fish products are sold already prepared or cut in filets. In both cases it is difficult for the Veterinary Services to determine their origin and provenance. The issue related to the authenticity of agri-food products is an important interest matter not only from a legal point of view but it is of economic importance. It may be dealt with and in some cases resolved with the help of tools based on the application of agri-food biotechnology used for the genetic traceability both of a single subject and entire races of food products.

The Spallanzani Institute uses most effective and reproducible molecular genetic techniques (“molecular fingerprinting”), capable of identifying and distinguishing a variety of fish species for chain control and traceability purposes.